All journeys have to start somewhere, but first let’s travel further down the road a bit – to three years from now….
By this time Mulvarra House will have been a fully-functioning workshop and retreat centre for two and a half years. Two and a half years of offering workshops and events in areas ranging from meditation, yoga, growing your own food, arts, traditional crafts and more. Having completed the initial expansion phase to include our studio, the Breathing Space, many people will have come to Mulvarra House in that time to relax and learn, to meet like-minded people, to enjoy home grown and home-made food, to have a good time, or just to stay and soak up the environment in beautiful St Mullins.
So where did this journey start?
Like all journeys, this one begins with one small step.
Summer 2016, just up the road from St Mullins in a cramped apartment in inner city Dublin. The novelty of apartment dwelling has long since worn off, and we have been watching the boom and bust in Dublin’s housing market, like so many others, with dismay. Our house hunt has run into the same brick wall of an over-heated property market. A person can find it very easy in this situation to become demotivated and join these many others in declaring it is outrageous that two adults with decent jobs cannot find a proper place to live in Dublin. But then a random click on a link led to a glimpse of possibilities opening up outside of Dublin.
We were looking at pictures of gorgeous houses in beautiful parts of Ireland, with acres of space. Too much for the two of us, but maybe we could use the extra space for…. a B&B, or maybe some self-catering accommodation? Or something even more…? Linda could offer home-cooked meals, a hobby that she never really had time for. Tim could offer hikes and cycle tours, maybe even teach yoga, something he had always dreamed of after finishing a teacher training course in India. It sounded like a dream and yet, don’t all dreams?
More and more, it made sense to contemplate not only moving house, but also starting a brand new business and life altogether. We decided we were ready to take the journey to see where it might lead. This began a search that took us all over Ireland and it eventually landed us, on a sunny afternoon in February 2017, driving up to a stranger’s house in a village that neither of us had heard of. We got out of the car, walked up to the house, turned the corner and we both knew that this was where we wanted to be: at Mulvarra House in St Mullins, overlooking the majestic Barrow River.
A year and a half later, we find ourselves ready to take the next big step in this journey. We took the initial leap of a move to the country, and leaving both of our jobs. Since moving to Mulvarra House we have had a rollercoaster year, with the culture shock of a complete lifestyle change. Taking over an existing business has been a huge learning curve for both of us. With backgrounds in mostly education, neither of us had much experience in the hospitality sector, we suddenly found ourselves the owners of a thriving bed and breakfast. Within less than a week after moving in, we were welcoming people to our new home, preparing breakfasts, cooking dinners and exploring the area so we could share this with our guests. We really did hit the ground running. We could not have done it without the support of friends and family, and much-appreciated help from the close knit community of St Mullins. There has been lots of hard work, and mountains of laundry, but it has been incredibly rewarding, and not for a single moment have we doubted that this was the right move. We also managed to fit in getting married during this time!
We have never lost sight of our original dream. All through this first year, we have been planning our next step: preparing to turn Mulvarra House into a small, intimate workshop and retreat centre dedicated to creating a positive nurturing environment in the area of yoga, mindfulness, arts, and food. And now we find ourselves poised to take this step. Work on the Breathing Space studio is about to enter its finishing stages. Our new website is being set up to take our first booking for events, in readiness for our launch at the start of 2019.
Whatever the next few years bring, we know that we will continue to extend a very Irish welcome to our home to people who just want to come and stay, and experience the magic of St Mullins.
We have taken our first steps on a very exciting journey together, now let’s see where it will take us…